Building a New Automotive Workforce

In a USA Today article, Navigant Research explains how General Motors is realigning their workforce for an electric and self-driving future

Earlier this year, General Motors (GM) cut over 4,000 white-collar jobs. However, the automaker is still hiring, creating a new workforce geared towards developing electric and self-driving vehicles. 

In an article for USA Today, Sam Abuelsamid, principal research analyst at Navigant Research, discussed GM’s recent layoffs and new hires, and what realigning its workforce means for the company's future.

“We saw a significant reduction, especially in people working in powertrain, traditional engineering," Abuelsamid said. "It hasn’t really kicked in on the hourly side yet, but it has on the salary side, and that’s a leading indicator of what’s going on.”

By 2030, Navigant Research anticipates 15% of global car sales will be electric. While 15% might not seem like that much, Abuelsamid expects it to have a big effect on workers, specifically at engine and transmission plants.

He believes that each traditional automotive factory that is replaced by an electric motor or battery plant may see up to 75% reduction from today’s manufacturing jobs or evolve into new blue-collar jobs requiring different skill sets. 

“These electric vehicles will have simple, single-speed reduction gears. It’s a simple one-speed transmission rather than a 10-speed," Abuelsamid said. "The engine assembly is a fairly complex process today. But for batteries and electric motors, the assembly process is highly automated. So you’ll have a lot fewer people involved in the engine and powertrains."

Read the USA Today Article
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